UK Supreme Court Rule in Favour of Unmarried Mother

The UK Supreme Court today has delivered its judgement in the case brought by Northern Ireland woman Siobhan McLaughlin.

Ms McLaughlin had been in a relationship with John Adams for 23 years. They had four children together but were never married. When Mr Adams died Ms McLaughlin applied for Widowed Parent’s Allowance but was refused it on the basis that they weren’t married.

Following Mr Adams’ death, Ms McLaughlin has had to work two jobs in order to ensure she had enough money to provide for her children.

The Law Lords determined by a 4:1 majority verdict, that S39A of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992 was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and unlawfully discriminated against her and/or their children on the grounds of their martial or birth status contrary to Art 14 of the ECHR. In simple terms, Ms McLaughlin was denied money that she and her children were entitled to.

It is expected that this judgement will have far-reaching repercussions as it will open the way for other people who find themselves in Ms McLaughlin’s situation to make similar applications for payment.

We at MTB have an experienced team of lawyers who are presently involved in judicial review proceedings, based on similar grounds. If you believe that this judgement may apply to your situation or indeed, if you wish to speak to someone to ascertain whether it could, we have the expertise and the ability to provide you with the representation you need. Contact us now to arrange a free consultation.